The US and Australia will ramp up military cooperation in the South China Sea while working to develop new missile technologies to counter an increasingly assertive China.
Australia, however, will not accede to pressure to join US navy freedom of navigation exercises, which pass within 12 miles of China’s militarised but contested island territories in the South China Sea, for fear of worsening already strained relations with Beijing.
While the US and Australia are close allies, Marise Payne, Australia’s foreign minister, said they “don’t agree on everything though — and that’s part of a respectful relationship”.
Following talks in Washington with Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, Senator Payne said that while the long-standing strategic alliance was to be celebrated, Australia would seek
News – US and Australia to step up military co-operation in South China Sea